A historic Cleburne home once condemned by the city in 2015 after the owner could no longer afford to keep it up to code is now restored, modernized and barely recognizable.
The six-bedroom home, once inhabited by a prominent Cleburne businessman in the early 1900s, was moved to Midlothian last year with the help of Stephen Hidlebaugh of Leasing Impressions, who snagged it during a quick sale for $100.
Hidlebaugh, who owns and leases several downtown Midlothian buildings, has been involved with the development of more than 100 renovated communities throughout the United States.
Although he has renovated other homes before, it was one of the first times Hidlebaugh had moved one to a new location.
“It is really cool to watch,” he said. “All of the police forces came out so that when it started in Cleburne and then went into Keene all of the Cleburne police stopped and the Keene police took over. [The home] actually went downtown on the square. So you got to see this huge house going through downtown. People were really excited to watch them all move.”
The home was originally built between 1904-07 by C.W. Mertz, a prominent early Cleburne banker, real estate entrepreneur, insurance broker and civic leader.
The house is now part of Founders Row, a block of preserved historic homes turned into restaurants, cafes, wine bistros, boutiques, retail shops, specialty stores, salons, spas and galleries.
“The houses were moved with the utmost in care by the renowned historic home relocation experts at McMillan Movers,” he said. “Once in place on their new foundations at Founders Row, construction began in earnest by our team of skilled craftsmen whose talents and tradeskills will return these historic structures to their former glory.”
Moving the home to Midlothian cost about $150,000.
Necessary repairs costing an additional $300,000 included replacing deteriorated wood on the exterior structure, replacing all broken windows, repairing front steps and columns, repairing all interior walls and the ceiling, installing a new water heater and rewiring the entire structure.
Save Old Cleburne President Stephanie Montero said handled correctly, historic buildings can spur development.
“I’ve been following the restoration online, and they’re doing a phenomenal job,” she said. “A beautiful piece of Cleburne history is being saved, even if we’ll have to visit Midlothian to see it. Stephen Hidlebaugh has a great concept with Founder’s Row and hopefully we can learn from what he’s doing and bring that idea back to Cleburne someday.”